Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is Baptist Collegiate Ministry a Para-church Ministry?

One of the nice folks who follows my blog asked why I considered Baptist Collegiate Ministry not a para-church ministry? So, if you aren't Baptist or don't care, just tune this one out.

The BCM ministry or BSU in Mississippi or BSM in Texas, etc is a ministry of the local churches. The director or College Minister is an employee of that state's Convention and is meant to be the face of those churches on the campus.

The Director/College Minister serves as a resource to those churches. Some of what the BCM here does can serve as as an example:
-Provides names of incoming Baptist freshmen for churches to contact prior to the start of school in the fall.
-Has local church reps present at start of school freshmen events where the churches can highlight their ministries.
-Invites and encourages the Churches to have reps at their weekly lunch programs to meet and know students (many who are not believers or not connected to a church).
-For many years the BCM utilized local church college ministers to lead seminars at the fall retreat to provide them exposure. This stopped only when churches decided to each do their own retreat.
-Helps students be aware of part-time positions in area churches.
-works at coordinating church and BCM calendar.
-Coordinates local churches providing a get-acquainted event such as a Progressive Supper for freshmen who visit local collegiate churches all in one evening.
-Has display that lists local churches with their services and a picture of each in their Campus Center. Also provides an area where churches may display their promotional materials.
-Utilizes local church College Ministers in a panel at a Lunch program early in the fall semester where they are introduced to 200-300 students.
-Does no Sunday or Wednesday night programing.
-Requires those who serve in leadership roles to be active in a local church.
-Within Bible studies and worship events speaks to the value and need for a local church.
-works with and coordinates local church interaction and ministry with International students (such as a Thanksgiving Dinner for 300 plus Ingernationals).

I am sorry that this list is long and cumbersome. This is not to say campus para-church groups have no value....just that is not what the BCM ministries are...they are a ministry of the churches at work on campus. My BCM Director friends will be quick to point out many things I left out like Disciple Now weekend teams, etc. But, you get the idea.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with Arliss and think this is totally valid when and where there is a supporting Baptist church or churches.

    But there are many areas of the country where that is not true and where there is a campus that needs to be reached. Historically the idea was to get a church planted in that setting, still a valid idea. But sometimes finding such a person is difficult. What do you do in such a situation? Wait and do nothing?

    Today there are a number of Baptist collegiate ministries that fully function as a church, where there is not otherwise a Baptist church. They worship, serve, do missions, give, evangelize, teach the Bible, and basically do all that any NT church would do. And these are not para-church, but are fully participatory with the area/regional/state Baptist structures. Under what biblical design would you NOT call this a church? Some will have a problem with this, but increasingly many Baptist leaders and mission strategists are coming to affirm such expressions as legit.

    What do you think?